How to Turn Your Windows Laptop into a Wi-Fi Hotspot

Share your Windows laptop's internet with your other devices

Man using tablet pc, laptop and smartphone

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Tethering charges and fees for Wi-Fi hotspot access when you're away from home can add up, so it isn't always economical to have your smartphone, tablet, and laptop all connected at the same time. Thanks to a free program called Connectify, it's possible to share your Windows laptop's internet connection over Wi-Fi with nearby wireless devices.

Instructions in this article apply to laptop and desktop computers running Windows 7 or later. Alternatively, you can share your internet connection using the built-in functionality of Windows or macOS.

How to Make a Free Hotspot With Connectify

To turn you PC into Wi-Fi hotspot with Connectify:

  1. Download Connectify and install it to your computer. You might need to reboot your computer to finish the installation.

    Download Connectify and install it to your computer.

    Connectify is free to download, but there is a premium version available that includes extra features.

  2. Open Connectify and select Try it Out, then Get Started with Lite on the next screen.

    Open Connectify and select Try it Out, then Get Started with Lite on the next screen.
  3. Select the Wi-Fi Hotspot tab.

    Select the Wi-Fi Hotspot tab.
  4. Select the drop-down menu under Internet to Share and choose your Wi-Fi network.

    Select the drop-down menu under Internet to Share and choose your Wi-Fi network.
  5. Make sure Routed is selected under Network Access.

    Make sure Routed is selected under Network Access.
  6. Enter a name in the Hotspot Name field.

    Enter a name in the Hotspot Name field.

    With the free version of Connectify, you can only edit the text after "Connectify-".

  7. Create a secure password for the hotspot. The network is encrypted with WPA2-AES encryption. so the password can be anything you like.

    Create a secure password for the hotspot.
  8. Enable or disable the Ad Blocker option based on your personal preference.

    Enable or disable the Ad Blocker option based on your own personal preference.
  9. Select Start Hotspot to start sharing the internet connection over Wi-Fi. The Connectify icon on the taskbar will change from gray to blue.

    Select Start Hotspot to start sharing the internet connection over Wi-Fi.
  10. Other wireless devices can now access your personal hotspot using the network name and password you specified in the steps above.

If you have problems using Connectify with your wireless adapter, try updating the device drivers.

How to Use Connectify

Anyone connecting to your hotspot is shown in the Clients > Connected to my Hotspot section of Connectify. From here, you can monitor the upload and download traffic of the devices connected to the hotspot.

Anyone connecting to your hotspot is shown in the Clients > Connected to my Hotspot section of Connectify.

Right-click any device to rename how it's listed, disable its access to the internet, disable its access to the computer hosting the hotspot, copy the IP address, or change its gaming mode (like to Xbox Live or Nintendo Network).

Click Stop Hotspot from the program's Wi-Fi Hotspot tab to stop sharing the connection at any time. Your hotspot settings will remain saved so that you can quickly start the hotspot back up again in the future.

Click Stop Hotspot from the program's Wi-Fi Hotspot tab to stop sharing the connection at any time.

If you pay for Connectify Hotspot MAX, you can also use the Wi-Fi hotspot tool to extend the wireless internet in your house. Instead of installing a second router or a Wi-Fi extender, put the laptop within range of the wireless connection and start up the hotspot to expand the reach of your wireless signal.